Newbie, & Looking for a Z3 - Any Model

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  1. Newbie, & Looking for a Z3 - Any Model 
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    Hi everyone.

    I'm about to say goodbye to my 2007 Saab 93 Aero Conv. Simply - I want a Z3.

    Can anyone give any advice on what to look for and where to get one?

    I'll keep it that simple for now.. Looking forward to hearing from you!

    JJ29
     
     

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    pangster (30-01-2010)

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    Hi jj20,Welcome to Bimmerforums.co.uk.......
    If you were looking to buy I would suggest Pistonheads or autotrader Alas you not been a member long enough to buy from the forum yet.See the posting rules in my sig
     
     

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    jj29 (30-01-2010)

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    Quote Originally Posted by jj29 View Post
    Hi everyone.

    I'm about to say goodbye to my 2007 Saab 93 Aero Conv. Simply - I want a Z3.

    Can anyone give any advice on what to look for and where to get one?

    I'll keep it that simple for now.. Looking forward to hearing from you!

    JJ29
    Welcome to the forum!! On the iPhone just now so will reply properly in the next half hour or so r.e. What to look for when buying Z3!

    * 2016 BMW M135i LCI (F20): current
    * 2016 Mercedes Benz GLA 200d AMG Line (X156): current
     
     

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    jj29 (30-01-2010)

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    Welcome to the site mate
    Good luck in your search
     
     

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    You didn't really say what type of Z3 you were looking for or your budget (there's quite a few different ones! so I've tried to give you a general overview below..


    :: BODY TYPES / EXTERIOR ::
    Narrow body (original Z3 and lower powered models to c2000):
    The original Z3 that was produced from 1996 to around 1999/2000 that had the smaller 4 cylinder engines all came in what's often referred to as narrow body - they look almost identical from the front (bumper is slightly beefier on the 2.8's) but have narrower rear wings and a single exit exhaust.

    Z3 Narrow Body (rear):


    Wide body 1 (revised Z3 model all 6 cylinder powered models to c2000):
    When BMW introduced the 2.8 engine from the E36 328i to the Z3 they also changed the rear arches to beef it up a bit - these also visually differ as they have twin exhausts as opposed to the single exit found on the 4 cylinder models and a different style front bumper. Picture of my 2.8 for reference below.

    Z3 Wide Body 1 (rear):


    Also worth mentioning is that on this version/style of body there was 2 different 2.8 engines used. The original M52 and the M52TU (technical upgrade) - you can tell the difference because the original M52 has curved intake runners and the M52TU has flat intake runners (although changing the intake runners on the M52 to the flat style from an M50 is also a common upgrade on these cars and yields significant power gains). Pictures below for reference:

    M52:


    M52TU:


    The original M52 is far easier/cheaper to modify for extra ponies than the M52TU.

    Wide body 2 (revised Z3 model introduced in 1999/2000 all Z3 from this point onwards to c2002):
    BMW freshened up the design of the Z3 again in late 1999/2000 and although the front is identical (chrome surrounds on the lenses) the rear was changed. The rear arches were changed as was the tail lights, rear bumper and trunk lid. This is often referred to as the 'ass lift model' due to these changes and personally I don't think this looks as good as the original wide body version. Also at this time BMW used the body style for all engine types so you could no longer visually tell what engine be it 4 cylinder or 6 cylinder was under the hood (although all Wide Bod 2 models should have engine designated boot badges - which wasn't present from the factory on previous models) - this model also saw the introduction of the 3.0 M54 engine.

    Wide body 2 (rear):


    Z3M body (Z3M model introduced in 1998 to 2002):
    These again are visually different although they were always based on the Wide Body 1 variant (they never go the ass lift treatment) - visually different due to different front bumpers, side grills in the bonnet, wing mirrors, rear bumper, rear trunk lid and quad exit duplex exhaust. These housed the 3.2 S50 M3 engine originally and then adopted the 3.2 S54 M3 engine later on.

    Z3M body (front):


    Z3M body (rear):


    Z3M body (side):


    :: INTERIOR AND EXTRAS::
    Like most BMW's the lower power/poverty spec Z3's (4 cylinder models) came with very few extra's from the factory i.e. no power hood, no leather, no aircon etc - so everything was an optional extra. This contrasted with the 2.8 when they were introduced as they were blessed with leather, a power hood, traction control etc. The majority of 2.8's also seem to have been given the M Tech steering wheel - although there is debate as to how this happened - some believe it was down to shortage in supply of the original wheel. Various extras could also be specced i.e. Harmon Kardon stereo, 6 disc boot CD changer, there is both an interior and exterior Chromeline pack, a winter/climate pack, uprated sports seats (heated) etc. Z3's form 1998 onwards had roll bars fitted from the factory. Mine is an early 1998 so does not have these yet (although they can be retrofitted to all but the very early Z3's as these do not have the support posts on the chassis which are required to fix them). 1999 saw passenger and side airbags introduced as standard also. A desirable option to look out for is the hard top preparation kit which even although your car might not come with a hardtop will make fitting one a lot easier! - as reference the pictures below shows a Z3 prepped for hardtop (n.b. sometimes the holes for the roof posts have covers over them):





    You should also see a defroster switch at the rear of the centre console between both seats.


    :: GENERAL COMMENTS THINGS TO CHECK::
    * The wing mirrors can be affected by corrosion - these can be fixed easily and cheaply enough though
    * The lock on the rear boot can sometimes suffer from rust bubbles/spots of rust (never seen this myself on any I've seen - so possible quite rare)
    * There has been reports of water/condensation in the boot by some owners - again not a big problem and the likely culprit tends to be the weather seal gasket around the third brake light (about £5 from the dealer)
    * As with all convertibles - check the condition of the roof and the interior for any signs of water penetration or damage. The roof can be adjusted by tightening the tension on the 2 hooks either side (there held in place by grub screws 6mm iirc and can then be wound in or out depending on the adjustment that's required)
    * On the subject of roofs - the rear windows are plastic and almost all will have a crease on them (about a third of the way up from the bottom) - this isn't a big problem but worth mentioning - I treat mine with Meguirs Scratch X which works a treat and minimises this. From factory they should all have come with a rear window blanket which was meant to be applied prior to lowering the roof - but many don't come with this (mine didn't - and I've not bothered to replace it!). Also regarding roofs - if you need a replacement rear window for a factory hood it'll set you back in the region of £160 (window only) and these are VERY tricky to fit as they have to be zipped in and then sealed (very fiddly)
    * As with any second hand car - check over the car for any signs of accident damage (i.e. panel gaps etc)
    * Being BMW the engines are fairly reliable as long as they've been looked after and have a good service history - common problems tend to be heating related at around 80k i.e. viscous coupling and water pump are well worth looking at changing around this time as preventative maintenance imho
    * The guibo/flex disc can also wear around similar mileage i.e. 80k - this manifests itself in a knocking noise from the rear of the car during gear changes (relatively cheap fix)
    * The rear top mounts like all BMW's of this era are prone to failing and there are aftermarket uprated version available (again a cheap fix)
    * Both the drivers and passengers seats can have worn rail bushes - this is identifiable under fast acceleration or hard breaking (you'll notice the seat move/rock very slightly) - again cheap fix with uprated bushes is available
    * The side bolster on leather seats can wear - but I've done a guide on here regarding how to get them back to their best (search 'Liquid Leather')
    * The most serious problem that can occur with the Z3 is the rear sub mount failing - now I must stress that this is VERY rare by all accounts but worth a mention. You can visually check the car you're buying by opening the boot and removing the floor trim (that hides the tool kit) - look along the spots welds and down the passenger side seam to check for any 'popped' welds or cracked sealant - these are tell tale signs that the diff mount has a problem (the cross member can separate from the boot floor) - there are a few options regarding fixing this - BWM have opted to fix some as goodwill gestures FOC, there is an uprated part from BMW, people have chosen to fit Randy Forbes uprated solution and some people have drilled the popped welds themselves and flood welded them and not had further issues

    I realise there's a lot to take in/read- but have tried to keep it fairly high level - I can point you in the direction of any issues if you need further information on anything. A lot of the above negatives are fairly rare - but thought I'd mention them anyway - don't let this put you off. These are fantastic cars and IMHO the best combination of chassis and engine as well as looks are either the 2.2 cylinder (face lift) or the 2.8 cylinder (pre face lift) like I have.

    EDIT: also uploaded a Z3 buyers guide for you... bear in mind it's 'Americanised'

    HTH - good luck with your search!!
    Attached Files
    Last edited by pangster; 30-01-2010 at 13:30. Reason: adding Z3 Buyers Guide PDF

    * 2016 BMW M135i LCI (F20): current
    * 2016 Mercedes Benz GLA 200d AMG Line (X156): current
     
     

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    Z3Gazward (13-04-2011)

  12. Thanks to Pangster 
    #6
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    Pangster - thanks - this is so comprehensive. I was thinkg that 2 L or above might be the way forward... and I have a budget of 5 to 6K, hoping that a good example might come my way for that sum, alowing me some spare to upgrade/mod or repair as required.

    I have no preconceptions other than that!

    I just need to find one now!
     
     

  13.  
    #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jj29 View Post
    Pangster - thanks - this is so comprehensive. I was thinkg that 2 L or above might be the way forward... and I have a budget of 5 to 6K, hoping that a good example might come my way for that sum, alowing me some spare to upgrade/mod or repair as required.

    I have no preconceptions other than that!

    I just need to find one now!
    you've got a decent budget and it's a good time of year to buy so you'll get a good one.. you're best getting out to view and test drive a few different variants to see which would best suit you - there's tons for sale so don't be ina a hurry to buy one if you're not 100% happy with it..

    good luck with the hunt and keep us posted!

    * 2016 BMW M135i LCI (F20): current
    * 2016 Mercedes Benz GLA 200d AMG Line (X156): current
     
     

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    Buster47 (01-12-2011)

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